The Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a multi-state outbreak investigation of listeriosis linked to eating Les Frères cheese made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Cheese, a Wisconsin producer. The investigation is ongoing but there are related cases in at least three other states.
Two people in Minnesota so far have become ill. Both were older adults. They became ill in early June. Both were hospitalized and one died.
Health officials are warning consumers who may have purchased these cheeses: Les Frères, Petit Frère, Petit Frère with Truffles and still have it in their refrigerators to not eat it until more information becomes available from the investigation. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has advised grocery stores and distributors to pull and not sell the products until further information is available.
The CDC reports that as of July 2, 2013, 136 people have been confirmed to have become ill from hepatitis A after eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ in 8 states: Arizona (20), California (67), Colorado (25), Hawaii (7), New Mexico (6), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). The outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus, belonging to genotype 1B, was found in clinical specimens of 56 people in seven states: AZ (6), CA (15), CO (22), HI (4), NM (4), NV (4) and WI (1). This genotype is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East.
By combining information gained from FDA’s traceback and traceforward investigations and the CDC’s epidemiological investigation, FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading. These pomegranate seeds were used by Townsend Farms to make the Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blends and by Scenic Fruit Company to make the Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.